Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Just Slurring Along

Posted on April 4, 2019

Moving into my third month of learning to play violin, I’ve started to feel a drop in my momentum in a big way. Part of the issue is that IRL work (I work a full time job) has been increasingly demanding lately, leaving me so tired by the time I make it home. The idea of practicing every day has become harder to do.

I haven’t quit, though. I’ve dropped back to practicing every other day, often for less than 30 minutes, which used to be my standard. But I’ve tried to keep going and not stall out all together, because I know if I falter too much now, I’ll be at the risk of putting it down.

I guess we all have times when practice is hard to stick to. I’m trying to give myself the room to take a break while still maintaining the knowledge I’ve earned over the past few months. Right now, forward progress is extremely slow, nearly non-existent. But I’m being gentle with myself, while still making some time for practice on days when it’s plausible.


One of the newest techniques I’ve been learning from my practice book – Essential Elements for Strings – Book 1 with EEi: Violin – is something called a slur. This is when two or more notes played are within one bow stroke. It looks something like this:

I actually already slurred from time to time by accident, but didn’t realize it had a proper name! Indeed, when done correctly, it makes a smooth slurring transition between the two notes, giving a softer flow in the sound.

I’ve been working on a tune called Song for Maria quite a bit when I do practice, really trying to get the technique down. I also find I have trouble with accidentally bowing on strings I shouldn’t on this song for some reason. So, I’ve taken more time than I usually do trying to learn it.

When properly played, it sounds something like this:

Thankfully, it’s pretty pleasant. But I am looking forward to feeling like I can move on from this song pretty soon. I’ve dabbled with the song following it, The Banana Boat Song, which is a bit more upbeat and fun.

In fact, I’ve peeked ahead at a number of upcoming songs in this book, and found that the accompaniment on the practice tracks becomes quite a bit more entertaining. Up until now, the tracks only featured the sound of the violin and metronome… maybe a second violin if there were rounds or a second part. But upcoming songs have a full on band to play along with, which is rather exciting!

I’m certainly trying to hang in here during my rough patch right now. Writing about it here is one way of trying to refill that motivation and inspiration. I know that the most important part of practice is showing up for it, and that’s something I need to rebuild as a habit again.

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Archived Comments

Jim Guinn - Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hang in there! I noticed you hadn't written in a while. I can relate to being busy and "squeezing" in practice or missing it. I'm over the "guilt" of missing if it happens, and it does! (I have to repeat my motto at these times...Learn Some, Have Fun.) Some days, I just play scales for a for a few minutes if I am real tired or don't have my usual time for practice, because you can never get too good at fingering or bowing. :) I wish I could practice when I get up at 3:00 in the morning, but a few people would kill me, so that's when I usually do my writing. I'm still working on rather simple songs, but I'm trying to make them my own by experimenting and dressing them up a bit. I see slurring is coming up real soon in my lessons as well. Keep fiddling, my friend!

Aywren - Thursday, April 4, 2019

Thanks for the encouragement! You're right. Even if I can't muster the energy to play songs, I CAN put a little time into scales. That's a very good suggestion -- thank you!

I also haven't written a lot because I've been practicing pretty much the same techniques and materials as the last time I checked in, and haven't really made any new discoveries. Slurring is the first exciting new thing I've worked on lately.

Though, it does look like I'm going to be learning about the E string pretty soon if I can just keep moving forward. I've only been playing on three strings up until now! It would be nice to have the full kit. :)